Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed in an interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television on April 20 that he had handed Bulgaria’s leaders a list of weapons Ukraine needs to stave off Russia’s war against it.
Kuleba, interviewed on BNT’s daily foreign policy show The World and Us, noted that some members of the Bulgarian government were in favour and others against sending military aid to Ukraine, so the decision was in the hands of the Cabinet.
“Every time we are denied military aid, there are more opportunities for Russia to kill our citizens, destroy their homes and rob their property. So those who speak openly or covertly against sending weapons to Ukraine share the guilt,” Kuleba said.
Politicians who opposed the provision of military aid to Ukraine were harming their own country, he said.
The list he had handed to Bulgaria’s authorities was the same Ukraine had given to other EU and Nato member states, Kuleba said.
“It is in your interest for us to win this war and for the refugees to be able to return home,” he told BNT.
Addressing himself to the Bulgarian people on the occasion of the forthcoming Orthodox Easter, Kuleba said: “Pray for Ukraine. Get your politicians to make the right decision”.
Kuleba, whose three-day visit to Bulgaria continues on April 21, raised the issue of Bulgaria sending military equipment to Ukraine in a meeting with Prime Minister Kiril Petkov on April 19, Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska said, adding that she had not been present when this was discussed and the issue had not been raised when her Ukrainian counterpart met her earlier.
Earlier on April 20, Kuleba was heard behind closed doors by Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
In a statement after the meeting, the Democratic Bulgaria coalition – part of the quadripartite coalition and which wants Parliament to mandate the government to supply arms to Ukraine – said that at the centre of the committee’s discussions had been “the issue of providing all necessary assistance to Ukraine, including military”.
Democratic Bulgaria said that Kuleba had told the committee: “Ukraine will win this war – 100 per cent”.
“We are obliged to consider the possibility of military technical assistance to Ukraine so that the Ukrainian people can protect the lives, freedom and honour of their citizens from Russian aggression,” Democratic Bulgaria said.
“For us of Democratic Bulgaria, it is intolerable to see the war crimes – torture, rape, murder, civilians, which the Foreign Minister mentioned,” it said.
Along with Democratic Bulgaria, the opposition GERB-UDF parliamentary group has been pushing for a parliamentary decision in favour of weapons for Ukraine.
Within the ruling coalition, however, such a move is opposed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Slavi Trifonov’s ITN, while the Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change party has said that it has as yet made no decision on the matter.
On April 20, GERB-UDF MPs and former foreign ministers Ekaterina Zaharieva and Daniel Mitov said that Kuleba had raised the issue of military aid, but the members of the foreign affairs committee had avoided giving a specific answer.
On the morning of April 20, Kuleba met President Roumen Radev, who said: “ Once again, we call for this senseless fratricidal war between two fraternal Slavonic peoples to end as soon as possible”.
Kuleba responded to Radev’s use of that terminology by saying that after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, very few people would twist their tongues to call the peoples of Ukraine and Russia “fraternal”.
“We are more like Cain and Abel,” Kuleba said.
“I believe that Ukrainians and Bulgarians have much more reason to consider themselves fraternal peoples, especially after your sincere support for us,” he said.
(Photo of Kuleba: Government of Ukraine)
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